Your job is necessary

A sneak preview of one page that will be in the book.

A sneak preview of one page that will be in the book.

During my conversations with people (about the Lijn sculpture – see previous posts for info) I asked them about their job/role and what they value about it. These responses have mostly not been included in the final book work. So I’d like to share some of them here.

Firstly I asked people what they valued about what they do:

It’s a nice environment to work in. I have worked in other environments with white walls and staring at computers and it’s soul draining. I want to be somewhere with a nice atmosphere. Some people can probably just work anywhere but it is about the environment and quality and what you are gaining from the job.

No two days are the same. I work with a variety of people and places. There is no real pattern to my time which I love.

Doing science is a bit like playing piano. The process gives pleasure…I like the actual activity of it.

I have to have a job to pay the bills, for a pension etc. It’s not about status. But I enjoy the process of what I do.

I believe in creativity so I suppose anybody who engages with creativity whether that’s thinking, making, a managerial role, I value that above ignorance and a refusal to play.

I wondered if it, was important for them to feel they had contributed?

It’s rewarding on an everyday scale. I didn’t think of it on a bigger scale about the social benefits.

It’s fulfilling to think you’re helping someone, helping explain or entering dialogues. These small contributions are important sometimes.

I don’t think a good life has to be a grand life…but if you’re always trying to make things a bit better than they were.

I changed my career because I wanted to make a positive contribution to people’s education.

I can’t compromise. I can only do work that I believe in.

I act for the individual against the system. I protect the little guy, they need help. I think it’s worthwhile.

I do it to help people and to try and make my city a better place. Just to serve people of locality and do best to make my little patch a better place.

Did people in work feel valued by their employer?

I’ve got more skills than I need for the job… In a sense I’m overly qualified. But it’s the closest I could get to a hobby at work…otherwise I would be working in a shop or something.

It’s hard to move from the bottom and get anywhere…only so many jobs can apply for.

The way they value me is really not to do with the effort I put in, as far as I can see.

What about their sense of agency?

I create my own furrow where it suits and fit in where it suits. 

Some of these things are forced on me and other things I chose to do. What it comes down to is never really having had any life plan.

I value choice, the ability to be self determining. Although sometimes you can get totally swamped by choice.

We have a series of little scenarious about our past…it may not have happened quite like that but it’s the way I have recounted it so many times. If one were able to go back in time and examine things as they were happinging it may not be the case.

It’s important for me to feel I have been reasonably successful otherwise my self esteem would be low.

I am very confident working with people but not so confident in producing my own thoughts in a way that people would see or believe in.

I want respect for the things I respect. That I am competent, hard working, decent…. I am sure that’s human nature.

I do find having some prominence to be able to say ‘things should be done like this’ and for that even to be heard, even if people don’t always take your point of view. I think that’s satisfying in some way. It’s a little bit about power isn’t it and being able to make a difference even if those differences are fairly small…to be able to have some influence is quite a valuable thing to me.

The material I collected is far more, and far richer than everything I will be able to include in the final book. Although these quotes are absent, I hope it will retain an element of questioning meaning and purpose that is relevant in exploring what art is about, but also in how we make sense of our own lives.